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Fearless Girls Wise Women And Beloved Sisters

Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
Paperback Book
May, 2000
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Banyen's Description: 

Once upon a time Kathleen Ragan got sick and tired of children’s books that had no admirable female characters. The bedtime stories she read to her daughters were populated almost exclusively by male characters; the few females that existed were generally morally reprehensible. Ragan ransacked her local libraries for stories that featured female heroes: strong, intelligent women who could be positive role models for her children. Thirty thousand tales later, she offers us Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters.

What Ragan discovered, over the course of her extensive research, was that the fairy tales most of us are familiar with are not representative of the stories told in cultures around the world. Victorian editors who selected tales for anthologies “weeded out” or altered stories that centered on strong or independent female characters. Disney further exacerbated the situation by popularizing a vapid Snow White and a spineless Cinderella. Ragan’s archaeological work restores to us a host of vibrant female heroes of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Fearless Girls is, as well, an admirably multi-cultural collection. We meet an African woman who saves her village by asking the right questions; a Yugoslavian princess who refuses to marry because she’s “too busy with my embroidery to be bothered with a crowd of young men”; an Inuit girl who outwits a polar bear; a Scottish mother who craftily wins back her child, stolen by fairies; and many others. There are over a hundred stories in Ragan’s collection, each of which is followed by a brief comment which relates the tale to the folk traditions and points out its value as a moral guide for young readers. Ragan’s praiseworthy efforts have made it possible for parents, educators, and children of all ages to read happily ever after.

This broadest selection of female hero stories that has ever been published stars women saving lives and bringing peace to their communities through creativity, intelligence, eloquence, wisdom, kindness, perseverance, loyalty—and often feats of endurance.

Publisher’s Description: 

This "jewel of an anthology" ("Booklist") features 100 great folktales and fairy tales from all over the world about strong, smart, brave heroines. "The result is a book of . . . shimmering, spine-tingling tales in which females of every shape, age, and size valiantly and selflessly save the day" ("Elle").

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